DES MOINES — Local schools participated in the Iowa State Dance & Drill Team Association’s (ISDTA) Iowa High School State Dance Team Competition earlier this week.

North Mahaska, Pleasantville and Pella Christian performed Tuesday, Knoxville performed Wednesday and Pella Community performed Thursday.

The Oskaloosa Winter Color Guard also performed Thursday in Class III, along with three soloists: Lauren Milledge, Jordan Guthrie and Rachel Frost.

Normally taking place in early December, the championship was moved to Nov. 17-19. The 45th annual competition saw team and solo championships combined and increased from two days of dancing to three.

“This spring, it became clear many aspects of a typical dance season would need to be reimagined; practice, competition and routine choreography would need to be different,” said ISDTA Executive Director Andrea Dana. “ISDTA is focused on preserving the State experience, while ensuring teams and soloists, ISDTA staff and the association remained safe, and creating opportunity out of the challenges COVID-19 has presented.”

Taking place at Wells Fargo Arena and Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines, team competition categories included pom, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, military, kick, hoopla, lights, novelty, prop, color guard, all male, co-ed and show production.

Teams and soloists were divided into classes based on school enrollment. They are also being evaluated and judged by industry professionals from all corners of the United States.

According to Dana, the award ceremony portion of competition will also look different this year.

“In order to maintain ISDTA’s high standards of competition, we have invited our judges to evaluate virtually,” said Dana. “Because of this, ISDTA will host a virtual awards ceremony Saturday, Dec. 5 at 1 p.m.”

Seventeen college teams and 235 high school teams made up the nearly 500 routines, plus 780 solos performed in a three-day period. Teams and soloists earn points for choreography, execution, difficulty and showmanship.

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